Here is a deeper look at five statistics from the Cowboys’ 23-0 loss at Indianapolis:
• 72 – Ezekiel Elliott finished with seven catches to lead the Cowboys, the fourth time this season and in his career he has earned at least that many in a game. He now has 72 receptions on the season, which is already more than what he had in his first two years combined (58). His 72 grabs are also leading the team this season, and if that holds, he’ll become the first running back to top the Dallas offense in catches since Richie Anderson led the squad with 69 in 2003. In their history, the Cowboys have seen a running back lead the team in catches seven times: also Herschal Walker (60 in 1987; 76, 1986); Ron Springs (73, 1983); Calvin Hill (32, 1973; 43, 1972); and Walt Garrison (40, 1971).
• 0 – This marked the 11th time in their history that the Cowboys have been shut out in a game, and the first since losing 12-0 at the New England Patriots on Nov. 16, 2003. Each of the last five and seven of the blankings overall have come on the road. The 23 points was also the largest margin of defeat that the Cowboys have lost by this season. The last time they lost by at least that many came on Nov. 19, 2017 when they fell to Philadelphia, 37-9.
• 10 – The Cowboys had three possessions in the first half that saw them run 10, 15 and 14 plays respectively, but not come away with any points. That continues an ongoing struggle for the team. Over their last six games, which includes the five-game winning streak, they have had 17 drives with double-digit plays, but only three times have they actually reached the end zone, or 17.6 percent. Seven times they had to settle for field goals and twice they either missed the field goal or in the case against Indianapolis, had the attempt blocked. For the season, Dallas has had 26 possessions with at least 10 plays and have scored a touchdown only eight times, or 31 percent.
• 69 – Dallas was penalized nine times in the game against Indianapolis for a total of 74 yards. For the season, they’ve now been penalized 88 times, which is tied for the 10th fewest in the league, for a total of 773 yards, tied for 13th. However, the Colts were flagged only six times for 55 yards, which has also been a season-long trend. Overall, Cowboys’ opponents have been penalized a total of just 69 times for 531 yards, both of which are the lowest marks in the league. That minus-19 differential in flags is the fourth largest in the NFL while the minus-242 yards differential is the second largest. So while Cowboys games may not have as many flags thrown, they clearly are on the losing end of those penalties that are being called.
• 50 – Dak Prescott was sacked twice by the Colts, which pushes the total of sacks this year that the Cowboys have given up to 50. With two games left to play, that’s already the most the team has surrendered since the 2005 campaign (50). In its history, Dallas has given up 50 sacks in a season now just five times since sacks became an official stat in 1982, and seven times overall since the team’s inception in 1960. They did not make the playoffs in five of the previous six years, being relegated to the third-place Playoff Bowl in 1965.
· Chidobe Awuzie’s tackle total allowed him to reach 100 for his career.
· Amari Cooper had one carry for a career-long 11 yards.
· Ezekiel Elliott moved into eighth (3,963) on the club’s all-time rushing yards list over Walt Garrison (3,886).
· Elliott’s 25 touches (18 rushes; seven receptions) gave him 358 on the season to top his 2016 rookie season (354) and establish a career best.
· Elliott’s seven receptions allowed him to move past Richie Anderson’s 2003 total (69) for the third-most receptions by a running back in a single season in team history. He also became only the third running back in franchise history to reach 70 receptions in a single season behind Herschal Walker (76 in 1986) and Ron Springs (73 in 1983).
· Elliott’s 41 receiving yards gave him 543 on the season and allowed him to move past Herschel Walker’s 1988 total (505), Preston Pearson’s 1978 total (526) and Preston Pearson’s 1977 total (535) for the fifth-most receiving yards by a Dallas running back in a single season in franchise history:
· Allen Hurns made his 50th career start and caught one pass for 9 yards.
· Dak Prescott’s 206 yards gave him 10,328 career passing yards and allowed him to pass Craig Morton (10,279) for the sixth-most passing yards in team history.
Leighton Vander Esch
· Leighton Vander Esch’s eight tackles (per stats after the game) allowed him to top Dexter Coakley (136 in 1997) for the most stops by a Cowboys rookie in a single season in franchise history. As a note, following Dallas coaches film review, that number may be different as tackles are not official.